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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Friday, March 8, 2019

Broken Bones

Life has a way of taking twists and turns that we never expect.

I love everything about winter, winter sports, like snowshoeing and skiing, fires in the fireplace, wearing layers of clothing, wearing fabulous knitted items that I've made over the years, snow covered mountains, and the list goes on. But, this year, winter decided not to like me.

Three weeks ago, I went out to ski. It was a gorgeous day, bright sunshine, and the temperatures just right for optimum snow conditions. It was a quiet day on the hill, virtually no one around, my first run of the day, and I was feeling great. Then suddenly, my ski caught, on what I don't know, and the next thing I knew, I was tumbling down the hill. My husband was behind me. He said that I tumbled at least five times. I can remember thinking, "why am I not stopping?" I lost my skis, poles, and my googles even snapped off of my helmet. Then, my head slammed into the hill. Thankfully, I was wearing a helmet. Had I not been, I may not be writing today.

Once I came to a stop, my first thought was to get up, but I couldn't. The fall had really knocked the wind out of me. My body ached, and my head hurt. After a minute or so, I was finally able to roll over and sit up. A mountain host skied over and asked if I was okay. I said that I was. She wanted to call for the ski patrol to come with a snowmobile and take me down the mountain. I refused. Then my husband skied over with all of my lost equipment. She asked if he was with me, he said yes. Had I been alone, I think she would have insisted that I ride down rather than ski down. As she skied away, I looked up at my husband and said, "I just want to cry." But, I got up, got into my skis, skied down to the lift which I had to take in order to ultimately get to the bottom. Every muscle in my body shook, but by the time I made it to the final run to the bottom, my confidence returned. We went into the medics office where I was checked for a concussion. My husband was told that I should not be left alone for 24 hours, given a list of things to watch for, and I was told not to ski for at least 7 days. 

Somehow, I scraped up my face during the fall, and I could feel that my lip was swelling, so I popped into the restroom. As I was walking out to find my husband, a young guy called out, "ma'am, ma'am, are you okay?" Having just come from the medics office, and told of the possible things that would indicate a concussion, I wondered what I had done to alarm him. So I asked if I had stumbled. He said no, but that he and his friends were on the lift above me when I took the fall. He said. "it was violent!!!" He went on to say that they all felt so bad because they could do nothing to help me, then he added, "I just can't believe that you are actually walking."

By the next morning, everything that could hurt, hurt. I had pulled my leg muscles, groin muscles, neck muscles, abdominal muscles. Well, if it was a muscle, it hurt! I decided to just make the best of it, take it easy, and allow my body to heal. Or, so I thought...

The fall happened on a Tuesday. That Saturday, four days later, I took the dogs out for a walk, slipped on some ice, and broke my wrist. My husband had left for a quick out of town trip, so I was alone. When I fell, the muscles in my legs, groin, and abdomen were re-injured. If took everything I had just to get myself up. My wrist hurt like crazy, but I thought I could just shake it off, surely it was just bruised. I got a hold of the dogs, took about five steps, and knew that something was terribly wrong. 

I called a friend who dropped everything and rushed over to get me. I was able to catch my husband just before he boarded the plane. When we got to the hospital, I was immediately taken in. The nurse helped me get my coat off, and when he saw my arm, he said, "oh my!," and took a deep breath. My arm was pointed in one direction, and my hand in the opposite direction. I had actually broken both of the large bones that run from the wrist to the elbow.

This is me 3 hours later.  


I was told that due to the nature of the break, I would need surgery. Fortunately, they were able to get me in on Monday. I am now the proud new owner of a plate and matching screws that now hold my wrist in place ;)

At this point, I am 2 1/2 weeks out of surgery. The cast is off, but I have a brace that I will have to wear for another 6 weeks. The week of the surgery was incredibly difficult. I was in so much pain. I couldn't even stand the effort of getting in the bed. Since I had re-injured my muscles, any movement was almost more than I could stand, so I slept on the sofa. 

On a sweet note...
One night I awoke and felt a little body snuggling in around my legs. Somehow, Berkley had managed to get out of the bedroom and make his way to me.      


He and Gracie have been my constant companions :) 

When I fell and broke my wrist, my first thought was, "why did this have to happen?" Since then, I have thought often of the verse, "In all things give thanks."  This happened for a reason, not sure why, but in time, I will. 

Throughout this entire ordeal, I have had many blessings, a friend who was so calm under pressure, an incredibly attentive hospital staff, being able to get into surgery so quickly, sweet dogs to comfort me, and a husband who has been so understanding and helpful. Not being able to use my right hand has been an incredible learning experience, and humbling as well.

At my last rehab visit, the therapist had me hold a pair of scissors. I was told that I could begin to sew as long as I leave the brace on, and use my left hand to pick up fabric, etc. Each day I am feeling a little more like myself.

I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things!
Thanks for dropping by! :)
Rhonda    



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Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Morning Inspiration/Dior

I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to see the Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum this past week. Getting there was a bit harrowing as I flew into Denver during a blizzard. As the plane was making its approach, I looked out the window and thought, "this is not going to be good." When the gear touched down, I could feel the plane swearing a bit from side to side. I closed my eyes and in the form of a prayer said to myself, "hold onto this horse boys." The pilot did an amazing job by allowing the plane to keep rolling until it naturally slowed. Thank goodness for the super long runways in Denver!

For those of us who sew, we've had it drilled into us how important a muslin is. And, for those of us who sew, we've all experienced the garment that we thought really didn't need a muslin, only to make it up and find that it's a mess and into the garbage it goes :/ 

I'm sure you've seen the picture below many times. What you may not realize is that it is not a wall of white garments. It's a wall of muslin garments. Although meant for a muslin fitting, many of the pieces could actually be worn out in public. The attention to detail is absolutely incredible.


I was able to get an up close picture of this piece. The boning, the pleating, perfection.


The exhibit is huge, so large that I found it a little overwhelming. It's one that you can see at least twice, if not more. I took tons of pictures, so I will share them over the upcoming weeks as I know that everyone can't possibly get there, so a few up close pictures is the next best thing :)

This week I'll concentrate on some of the dark pieces that I especially enjoyed.

The piece below is so sleek, but then has the unexpected twist of the puddle on the floor,


and the super cute bag attached at the hip. 


Now, if you've followed the blog for a while, you know I love an interesting sleeve. This pleated sleeve is actually not a sleeve. The jacket is sleeveless. 


The "sleeve" is actually a pleated panel that is attached at the shoulder and just gives the illusion of a sleeve. 


A fairly simple garment, but I loved how the satin was inserted to give movement and slims the body. 



A piece from the 1940s. From a distance it doesn't look like much.


But, this is what I loved...those teeny, tiny little pleats that were inserted into the princessline seam.


I would gladly wear both of the garments below. The piece on the left is especially intriguing to me. 


I LOVE the collar detail. I need to do a little research as it looks as though it could possibly be a hood as well.


This jacket hangs so beautifully. I would love to see how the jacket was structured. Look closely, very closely and you'll see how perfectly the welt on the pocket was matched to the jacket.


The last piece for today...
I love this little dress. It's simple, and yet exquisite. The design is perfectly balanced with the trim that goes around the neckline and down the front, as well as the trim around the bottom of the sleeves.


As I said, I took tons of pictures. The collection is really quite bright and exciting. I look forward to sharing more with you.

The video below is only a minute long, but it will give you the feeling of actually walking into the exhibit. As you'll see, the dark pieces I've shared today are just a very small portion of the exhibit. 

   

If you would like to see more pictures, and read more about the exhibit, you can find it all HERE on the Denver Art Museum's site. 

Have a wonderful week!

Rhonda



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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sunday Night Reflections





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Sunday's Soup/True Vegetarian Vegan Chili

I've told this story before, so forgive me if you've heard it ;)

A number of years ago, I made a pot of traditional chili, with meat. Now I love a spicy dish, but if it's too hot for me, no one in my household will be able to eat it. This chili was REALLY hot, even for me! For the life of me, I don't know how I convinced myself that the spiciness of the dish was a matter of mind over matter. If I acted like it was fine, no one else would notice. I don't know, maybe the overly hot chili had given me a momentary lapse in saneness ;)

So, when dinner time rolled around, I served up the chili. I sat down and began to eat it as though there wasn't a pepper in it. After a few minutes, my exchange student, who was from the Canary Islands, and did not like spicy food, said, "I'm sorry Rhonda, but this is just too hot!" My husband then chimed in and said that he thought it was just him and then asked if I thought it was hot. I admitted that it was extremely hot, but I thought they wouldn't notice. He said, "Not notice!!! How can you not notice when your mouth is on fire???" I have yet to live that story down :)

I do love a bowl of chili, but, since I no longer eat meat, I want a truly vegetarian bowl, no fake meat, just vegetables. The recipe I'm sharing today has a couple of secret ingredients.

For this chili, you'll begin with a large chopped onion sauteed in oil, along with 1 tablespoon of minced ginger. The smell will be heavenly.


Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 2 chopped bell peppers. I used an orange and a yellow pepper, but green will do just fine.


Now, this is where it begins to turn into chili...
Add 3 teaspoons of good chili powder, 2 teaspoons of cumin, and 2 teaspoons of paprika. Allow to saute on low for about 5 minutes. 


At this point, add 2, 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes(I like fire-roasted tomatoes), and 3, 14.5 oz cans of your favorite beans, drained and rinsed. I used garbanzo beans, pinto beans, and small northern beans. Besides the ginger, the other little secret ingredient is a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce which you will add at this point. 


Allow the mixture to simmer for at least 30 minutes. 


I like to make a pot of bulgar, which is cracked wheat to serve with my chili. Serve up a bowl of the chili and then add a mound of bulgar on top. Delicious! You could also make a pot of your favorite rice rather than the bulgar. I just really love bulgar :)

True Vegetarian Chili With a Twist

ingredients;
1 large onion chipped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
2 bell peppers chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
3 14.5 oz. cans of beans, pinto, garbanzo, and small northern beans drained and rinsed
3 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste 

directions;
Place oil in a large soup pot. Add onion and ginger. Saute over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add garlic and bell peppers. Saute another 5 minutes until peppers are tender. Add chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Stir well to combine. Saute for about 2 minutes to begin to release flavors.

Add dice tomatoes, the 3 cans of rinsed beans, the chipotle pepper, and the adobo sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on a low fire for 30 minutes, or longer. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle into bowls. A mound of cooked bulgar, or cooked rice of your choice makes a nice accompaniment. 
____________________________________________________

As always, if you give the recipe a try, I hope you enjoy it. Don't leave out the fresh ginger! It really adds a lovely flavor. As for the adobo sauce, it can be a bit spicy, so put in a tablespoon of the sauce, and give it a try before you add the second.

Enjoy!
Rhonda



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Monday, February 4, 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Giving the Merchant and Mills Francine Pattern a Test Run

I can be a very bold soul ;) 
As I just typed that, I remembered an incident that happened last winter while out skiing. We had skied up to get on a chair. This particular chair is quite old, and a little tricky to get on. There was a man in front of us with his very young, and very small daughter. The attendant had asked him to put the child on the other side of him and allow her to load the child onto the seat. He refused, lashed out at the attendant, grabbed his daughter and put her on the chair. But, the child was half hanging off the chair. I gasped as I thought for sure that the child was going to fall off. The attendant quickly stopped the lift, came around and properly placed the child on the chair. She commented to the man that if he takes the chair again, that he must listen to her. He snapped back...and then I opened my mouth. He turned back to me and said that it was none of my business. I replied, "But it is, accidents affect everyone who is skiing on this mountain." At that point, the lift began to move, and off he went. The attendant thanked me for defending her. While I did defend her, my actual concern was for the child. 
When we got off of the lift, I was ready for a confrontation, but the guy had skied off with his daughter, and I never saw them again. 

My initial comment though, was in regard to sewing, not me trying to be the police of the world :/ 


I have never used a Merchant and Mills pattern, so before I started using the Francine pattern to design other pieces for the upcoming challenge with Becky of Trail Balloons, I wanted to give the pattern a test run. I had purchased a lovely remnant of wool from Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago. Such a beautiful piece, it feels like butter against the skin. 


To make the dress, the pattern calls for almost 2 meters from a piece of 60" wide fabric. I only had 1 2/3 yards. But, I played around with the fabric, and was successful. 

We had dinner a few nights ago with a friend who is a retired Navy submarine captain. He and my husband were commenting on the fact that the United States is one of only 3 countries that doesn't use the metric system, Liberia and Burma being the other two. I'll be honest, when it comes to the metric system, I can be quite lazy. Thank goodness for online calculators!!! But, I still managed to make a mistake with the measurement calculations, and cut a dress that swam on me :/ And too...I need to enter here that I did not make a muslin, but cut the pattern directly out of my lovely piece of wool. I know, I know, shame on me!

Thankfully, all was not lost, only the pockets. Here again, I was lazy, so instead of taking out all of the stitching, I simply took in the dress so that it no longer looked like a tent, and chopped off the pockets. 


Pictures of me in the dress will follow. I have actually worn the dress a number of times since I made it. It is so comfortable, and easy to wear. It has been horribly cold, so I have worn a wool t-shirt underneath the dress, a black one. It just peeks out from the opening in the dress and looks quite cute. The side seam pockets would have been nice, but in the end, I really haven't missed them. But, I will add them back with the next dress.  


A few other pattern notes;

*There is very little ease in the sleeve. But, with the wool, the seam steams beautifully.
*I found the sleeves to be rather wide around my arms and wrists, so I tapered them quite a bit. In all fairness, I do have rather thin arms and wrists and typically taper my sleeves.
*Measure the circumference of the top, or dress pattern against your own measurements. And, a muslin would be most helpful before cutting your fashion fabric, especially if it's a very nice piece of fabric. 

As I said, I really love the dress. The shoulder seams hang off of my shoulders a bit, but that is hardly the end of the world. I just didn't want to take the sleeves out and adjust the shoulder seams. When I make my next piece, I now know what size to cut, and the pattern will hang correctly on my body.

I have a number of fun tweeds that I will be using for my challenge pieces. As soon as Becky and I have nailed down a few particulars, I'll let you know the start date of the challenge. I'm so excited!!! :)   



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